Sri Lanka – formerly Ceylon. Geographically and historically significant for a period spanning over 3000 years. Not often on the front pages of the US or even the European newspapers recently. Diverse culturally, linguistically and religiously. Deep traditions and tales of both prosperity & poverty. Ever evolving with the rest of our spinning planet…
(take note of the many joint agencies in the city of Columbo and beyond mentioned in the article – all united in a vision of cleaner, greener planning and viability)
If you’ve read the children’s tale of Jack, the Giant Killer and his adventures scaling the beanstalk (or some version of this story that has been handed down in a non-US culture), you know that climbing high can have its rewards and its challenges. Vertical farms may bring a new language to farming around the globe – as we climb ever higher to feed our expanding world population.
Vertical farming is a way in which smaller spaces can be used to produce quantities of produce and plant life that plots of land don’t allow for in crowded or urban areas. “Simply put, vertical farming means using a multi-level building, preferably within an urban centre, to grow food.” (JP Brown) Check out his full post on LinkedIn: Growing Up, Not Out: The Potential of Vertical Farming
Take a look at some of the companies that are involved with this growing technique. Maybe there’s an employment opp here for you?
What the heck is a mollusk, you may ask… Well, it is any of a large phylum (Mollusca) of invertebrate animals (as snails, clams, or squids) with a soft unsegmented body usually enclosed in a calcareous shell. Now on to the point of this blog post…
Camouflage is essential to many life forms – it is the key to their continued survival. The Cuttlefish is one such creature; another water dweller having adaptive coloring capabilities is the Pencil Squid. Scientists are hoping to capitalize on their investigation of the amazing ‘blend with your surroundings’ capability of these (admittedly rather unattractive) marine dwellers to increase the chances of survival for humans in combat. [One side observation on my part, camouflaged or not, a backbone is going to be necessary for the soldier if he is being called upon under these circumstances!]
Research is being done at Harvard and UC Irvine, among other institutions and corporations globally. To paraphrase one of the researchers on the goals of studying these marine life forms and their transmutability: “we’re…seeking to make shape-shifting clothing — the stuff of science fiction — a reality.”
Dinner Plate Squid used to Develop Color-changing Camouflage (for some of us, dinner may take on a whole new ‘flavor’ – watch the video; soooo awesome!!!)
“Chameleon of the sea” reveals its secrets (wow-imagine looking at that face in the mirror every morning)
Relying on speed, squids and cuttlefish do not have a thick, heavy outer shell. Their shells are reduced to lightweight internal bones. In squids, the bone is thin and pencil-like. In cuttlefish, these are flat surfboards riddled with tiny gas-filled chambers. Each of these creatures has eight ‘arms’ or tubers and they propel themselves by jetting water. For more detailed info on this unusual creature go on over to Wild Fact Sheets
The textile industry is getting VERY creative by re-purposing some interesting materials into fabric. theguardian reports that crab shells, plants, trees, bamboo, coffee grinds, and plastic bottles are some of the components used to produce fabric that have some great characteristics:
- moisture wicking
- UV protection
- dries quickly
This is so revolutionary that a Pittsburgh-based Corporation, Thread, is taking fabric sourced from plastic bottles to the next level by creating a new natural resource for Haiti. Today Thread has bottle collection centers in nearly a dozen Haitian cities. Haitian plastics are taken to the US to create 100% post-consumer recycled fabric. Thread estimates that it has removed over 200m bottles from the streets of Haiti.
And if you think using these unconventional items to make fabric are far-fetched, take a look at how Ford and H.J. Heinz Company explore the use of tomato fiber to develop a more sustainable bio-plastic material for vehicles !
Building a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. That is the mission of World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), of which I’ve been a supporter for many years.
One of their initiatives currently underway is the pilot of a Payment for Environmental Services (PES) program. PES is the practice of offering incentives to farmers or landowners in exchange for managing their land to provide an ecological service. In this instance, a watershed plan is being undertaken for the Mara River Basin. (60% located in Kenya and 40% in Tanzania.)
The goal of PES for the Mara River Basin is improved water quality as well as improved flow regime that will catalyze sustainable watershed management and create a win-win situation between the community (the land-owners) and the private sector partners. Furthermore, the upstream farmers will see an improvement in livelihoods as slow down of soil erosion and reverse of forest loss leading to an increase in agricultural productivity.
Read all about it: Piloting PES in the Mara River Basin